Septic sialoadenitis in equids: A retrospective study of 18 cases (1998-2010)

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Reason for performing study: Septic sialoadenitis, although uncommonly reported in equids, is a significant cause of pain, inappetence, dysphagia and discomfort. There are currently few reported cases possibly as a result of its infrequent occurrence. Objectives: To review cases presenting with sialoadenitis and describe the presenting complaints, results of diagnostic tests, treatment and outcome. Study design: Retrospective case series. Methods: Records were reviewed for equids presenting to the UC Davis William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital between 1998 and 2010 for salivary gland swelling. Equids were included if a diagnosis of septic sialoadenitis was made based on a combination of oral examination and/or ultrasonographic findings and/or microbial culture. Data collected included age, breed, presenting complaints, diagnostic results, treatment and outcome. Results: Eighteen equids were diagnosed with septic sialoadenitis affecting the parotid gland (11) or the mandibular salivary gland (7). Ultrasound was useful to differentiate whether the mandibular or parotid salivary gland was involved. Affected equids ranged in age from 4 to 30 years (mean 17.7 years). Fourteen of 15 (93.3%) equids that underwent a complete oral examination had dental or other oral abnormalities. Six of 18 cases had evidence of sialolithiasis. Culture of the infected salivary gland or secretions was performed in 9 equids and all yielded growth of Fusobacterium sp. along with other aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Infection resolved in 15/18 cases (83.3%) and 2/18 (11.1%) were subjected to euthanasia. Conclusions: Dental disease and sialolith formation may play important roles in the development of septic sialoadenitis in equids. Anaerobic infection should be assumed in all cases and affected horses should be treated for this until culture and sensitivity results are available. Prognosis is favourable (83.3%) with appropriate treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-59
Number of pages6
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Equid
  • Horse
  • Salivary gland
  • Sialoadenitis
  • Sialolith
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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